Unlocking the Heart of Adoption filmmaker Sheila Ganz is working on a new documentary, Moms Living Clean. On August 23, there will be a free work-in-progress screening and Q&A at the San Francisco Art Institute. Below is a letter from Sheila with details.

Dear Friend,

I am pleased to announce the work-in-progress screening of the 90 minute documentary MOMS LIVING CLEAN and Q&A discussion with the filmmaker, Sheila Ganz.

Saturday, August 23rd
San Francisco Art Institute
800 Chestnut Street
(between Leavenworth and Jones)
San Francisco
Admission is Free. Seating is limited.
to RSVP call: 415.564.3691, or
email: [email protected].

This feature documentary sheds light on the issues and individuals exploring opposing ways of dealing with substance abuse ~ treatment vs incarceration. The film chronicles six mothers in a women and children’s residential treatment program over three years, from entry through transition, where they learn recovery and good parenting skills, and attempt to become self-sufficient. There is Rachel, a victim of abuse, who learns to speak her truth. Lisa S was in prison for using and selling drugs feels a sense of responsibility for her daughter. Leslie forgives herself for her past prostitution and gains a feeling of pride. Intersecting with their stories is the progression of drug policies aimed at pregnant and parenting women. MOMS LIVING CLEAN combats the stigma and sheds light on the myths impacting these vulnerable moms and kids, and promotes whole-family treatment, where mother and children stay together, as an alternative to punitive laws and the breaking of family ties.

We are excited about the film and the steady progress toward completion. Your feedback is important at this stage of the process. So we hope you can make it to the screening and discussion.

Additionally, we are fundraising to complete the film by 2009. With a $100 donation you can have your name, or someone you designate in the credits of the film. If you are unable to attend the screening, information about making a tax-deductible donation is on the film’s website:

Our goal is to inspire women and mothers in recovery and promote greater understanding of the underlying issues for their family and friends, social service professionals, law enforcement, policy makers and the general public.

Experts now agree that the most productive way for society to deal with substance abuse is to treat it as a health issue rather than punitively. By helping the mother to stay in recovery and become self-sufficient, she will be able care for her children and end the cycle of abuse and neglect.

I look forward to seeing you at the work-in-progress screening of MOMS LIVING CLEAN!

Best wishes,

Sheila Ganz
[email protected]


Photo by Bastardette: Sheila in her famous green jacket, ASAIK conference, Pitt, October 13, 2008


  1. I commend Sheila for addressing this issue. Societies way is to would be to take this kids from their moms and put them up for adoption.

    Keeping the adoptives happy with the supply and helping society by reducing the welfare payments. But they do not consider adoption welfare or fosterer welfare a problem.

    By the way, one more addend.

    As a mother who lost her baby to the adoption machine, I WAS never addicted to any substance or drug. I am from the era of losing my baby because they knew I didn’t have support, a lawyer, a judge those who coule abused my rights and my babies rights.

    I hate when people confuse mothers from my era with those who abuse drugs or substances. NOT me never was and never will be I am a mother who had her baby taken because those who should have helped me didn’t.

    Instead they were helping an infertile woman acquire my baby what kind of social worker is that? Unfortunately they are taking babies but moms do have some rights as long as they don’t go to crisis pregnancy centers where they “help” women!

    The newest adoption scam open adoption where adoptives close adoption faster than one can blink their eyes.

  2. Yeah, it’s kind of funny when Pro-Adoption people today call you BSE moms “crack ho’s”. There wasn’t even any crack until the 80’s! Mid 80’s I think. Which is just more proof they are trying to cut you down, and keep you down still. If their immaturity wasn’t so maddening, I would literally be laughing at their stupidity.

  3. I have a friend who should write a handbook. When her daughter’s drug problem became severe, she picked up her two grandchildren and immediately filed for custody before the CPS could get their hands on them. THEN, she had an intervention for her daughter. I think the SC DSS is still grinding their teeth over this one…LOL

  4. Robin–I was at a hearing downtown where grandparents testified on the difficulty of resting children chidlren from CS.

    Their son and his girlfiend have a long history of drug abuse, mostly meth I think. Their son is currently in a state prison, his girlfriend in the county jail. Neither hae shown any interest in their 3 children. They haven’t seen them, except for a short accidental meeting in public a couple yaers ago.

    The druggies relinquished rights to their 2 girls, who were then adopted by the grandparents in a private adoption with no problem. For some reason they refuse to relinquish rights to their son, though he has lived with the grandparents for years–longer than the girls, I think. As a result, the boy has no legal protection in case something happens the grandparents. The boy is at the age where he knows this and is very afraid of what would happen to him if his grandparents were to die. It’s having a huge detrimental psychological effect on him. The grandparents have gone to court to try to get a TPR on the parents so they can adopt him,and been shot down by CS. The boy is under CS supervision and they won’t let him go. If something happens to the grandparents the boy will separated from his sisters and other family members and thrown into foster care, while his sisters would be placed in the care of people (probably other family members) chosen by the grandparents. How sick is this?

    Of course, the committee acted like they were beign lied to about it.

  5. OK, something seriously weird is going on here I’d swear there were several messages here yesterday, including one that I posted. This morning there was 1. I just made another post referencing that. When I looked for it, it wasn’t there either, but one of the disappeared posts was back.

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